Maths Manipulatives in our Primary Academies

On Thursday 28th March, following a successful bid being submitted to the Trust and a large order placed, maths leads from six primary academies were invited to pick up bespoke maths manipulatives to be distributed within their classes; prior to this, each academy had a limited range of maths manipulatives available in which to promote concrete approaches to their teaching and learning, so fresh resources were most welcome, and teachers were really excited to be getting class sets of bead strings, Numicon, dienes, multi-link cubes and a range of other effective resources which will certainly have a positive impact on teaching and learning and its outcomes.


As well as collecting their manipulatives, academies have also received resources to share with staff informing them how they could employ them to deliver the different maths skills they have to teach. Staff in the Medway academies have also received manipulative training and were able to get to grips with the manipulatives themselves. All of the staff attending were really positive about what they had learnt and couldn’t wait to be able to put their ideas into action with their children!


In order for the children to master maths concepts, they need to be able to explore their understanding using the manipulatives as a visual, then move onto being able to represent these as drawings and then move onto writing numbers; for example, in an addition equation. To further embed this within teachers’ planning, further training will be held and teaching assistants will also be involved.  As well as using this approach, we want our children to use the knowledge they have gained to be able to undertake problem-solving and reasoning. The manipulatives help with this as they aid the embedding of skills and explore different representations and strategies that they can use.


Over the past few weeks, I have been delighted to see that – in such a short time – maths manipulatives are being used regularly in all maths lessons. Children have been eager to use the manipulatives to develop their learning and they have been able to explain their understanding when asked. It has been a joy to hear a buzz around maths when walking into a classroom and having children coming up to me wanting to talk about their learning and show me using the manipulatives. Teachers have implemented what they have learnt from training and resources provided, and this is not only strengthening their own understanding of maths but is ensuring that the children are engaged in maths and have the necessary strategies to solve problems. I have seen bead strings being used effectively to teach minutes in time, Numicon to teach fractions and dienes for place value and much more.


I look forward to seeing how this develops over the course of the rest of the year and seeing our children become budding mathematicians in the making!


Lorna Rimmer, Director of Improvement – Primary KS2


Maths Manipulatives training









Improper fractions High Halstow Primary Academy










Percentages Dartford Primary Academy













Place value Hundred of Hoo Primary Academy